Officials from the Small Business Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the city Department of Financial Services and the Small Business Services convened at 55-60 58th St. to provide one-on-one assistance with loan and disaster applications.
However, there was a low turnout of business owners that came to the meeting.
“Many times business owners don’t know where to go for help,” said Ian Mangerkurth of the Driscoll Group, a government relations firm.
Councilwoman Diana Reyna, the chair of the council’s Small Business Committee, also said she was surprised that so few people attended. She stressed that incorrect information about funds available for businesses could prevent people from seeking guidance or assistance during this difficult time.
“There’s an assumption that they can only get a $10,000 loan,” Reyna said, as an example. “They might not know all the options.”
To date, there are several loan options for businesses dealing with damage from the storms.
The SBA is currently offering disaster loans for a maximum of $2 million with interest rates as low as 4 percent at a 30-year payback period.
The city, along with Goldman Sachs and the New York Business Development Corporation, is also offering smaller scale loans, ranging anywhere from $50,000 to $25,000 with no interest for up to six months and 1 percent interest for the remaining term. This loan must be paid back within 24 months.
With various other options, Jean Tanler of the MIBA said she is still confident that through spreading the word, relief efforts will get to the businesses that need it most.
“We’re trying to get the word out from all different directions,” Tanler said, listing canvassing, email blasts and phone messages as a few of the ways organizations like the MIBA and other groups have been helping area businesses know about relief assistance available. “It’s still early.”